Funding Approved For Airport Truck

SALISBURY – Officials in Wicomico County agreed this week to reallocate $412,000 in local funding for the purchase of an airport fire and rescue truck.

On Tuesday, the Wicomico County Council voted unanimously to reallocate $412,026 in CARES Act funding for the purchase of an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) truck.

Earlier this year, the airport applied for a Maryland Aviation Administration grant to purchase the new truck. While the agency has offered $315,000 toward the purchase price, the county is required to provide a local match.

To that end, Airport Manager Tony Rudy came before the council earlier this month requesting the reallocation of CARES money to fund the purchase.

“They need to be assured that we have local funds in place before they give us that grant offer,” he said at the time. “Sept. 30 is basically our deadline to tell them we have secured local funding for this project.”

In April, the airport was awarded more than $18 million in federal grants for capital projects. Since that time, the airport has committed those funds to various development projects on its campus.

This week, however, the council voted to reallocate $344,000 earmarked for a UAS hanger interior project and $68,026 in the airport’s operations and maintenance budget to the ARFF truck local share. The legislative body also amended the fiscal year 2021 capital budget and fiscal years 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Plan to include the purchase of the truck.

Rudy told the council last month replacing the ARFF truck was a priority for the airport. He noted it would take roughly a year to build the truck once it was ordered.

“Our newest frontline truck is 15 years old now,” he said. “These things generally have around a 10-year life span.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.